Friday 7 June 2019

Obituary - Jimmy Horne, 1943 - 2019

Husband, father, grandfather, garage proprietor, rally driver, and proud possessor of bad taste in shirts, Jimmy Horne passed away earlier this week after a long illness, borne with fortitude and good humour.

Although a quiet and private man, Jimmy was well known in Scottish rallying circles. He founded Mill Garage in Duns in 1974 and it wasn't long before he was running his own Mk1 Ford Escort in Scottish stage rallies.

He first showed up on the rallying radar in 1976 when he finished 9th Challenger overall in 'The Scotsman Scottish Rally Championship' that year. That pitched him into the 'senior' ranks for the following seasons. In 1978 he finished 18th Driver overall in the 'British Airways/The Scotsman Scottish Rally Championship' now driving a Mk2 Escort.

Appearances were intermittent, but he did enough events in 1980 to finish 8th overall in the Driver's Championship. Finishing ahead of him that year were Drew Gallacher, Ken Wood, Walter McDonald, Dom Buckley (Snr), Donald Heggie, Ian Wilson and Vince Finlayson. That was the sort of company Jimmy was mixing with. Serious stuff.

He was 18th overall in the 1981 Championship before looking ahead to 1982 which promised much but delivered little, although he did score his best ever individual result in that season.

One of his favourite events, the Hackle Rally had snow in 1982. It wasn't deep snow, but it was deeper in patches - usually out of sight around corners! That helped those with underpowered cars and where skill counted more than brute power. Jimmy Horne benefitted, although even he didn't escape Scot free.

He was fighting with Kenny Stewart for 2nd place behind Ken Wood when his sliding Escort struck a felled tree with its trunk sticking out at the edge of the road. He hit it with such an impact that it pushed in the co-driver's door, sill , floor and seat mountings with the result that Ashley Strachan was sitting 10 inches closer to and slightly above Jimmy! Remarking on the apparent 'intimacy' of the pairing a certain reporter suggested: "We'll need to throw a bucket of water over that pair of lovebirds before the day is out". The reward was 2nd overall and possibly Jimmy and Ashley's best Scottish Rally Championship single result.

Jimmy's own rallying took more of a back seat after that as his sons Stephen and Michael were fast growing up. Three years older than Michael, Stephen was a talented footballer and played in the Edinburgh Junior leagues which necessitated frequent trips to and from Duns to Edinburgh two or three times a week.

Towards the end of the 1980s when Michael 'came of age', Jimmy helped him buy his first rally car, a Talbot Sunbeam and Jimmy was back amongst folk he knew in a sport which he relished. As Michael said, if it wasn't for Dad he wouldn't have been able to go rallying. In 1994 when Michael won the Scottish Rally Championship and became outright Scottish Champion, there was no-one prouder than Jimmy.

Jimmy was one of those rare folk who thought first, before saying anything or volunteering an opinion. On that basis, what he said had merit, whether you agreed with him or not. That considered approach to commenting had another side-effect as he could offer up a token of whimsy or a joke in such a serious fashion that folk would initially take him seriously - till his face cracked into a grin. Aye, he could be quite mischievous at times.

The world of Scottish rallying has lost a good pal, but his wife Margaret, sons Stephen and Michael and grandchildren, Abigail and Rebecca, and Chloe and Liam, have lost so much more. Our thoughts must be with them at this sad time.

Funeral details: Friday 14th June, 12.15 at Duns Parish Church, Church Square, Duns TD11 3DD  and later at 1pm at Duns Cemetery.

Note:  A more detailed tribute has been published in the on-line magazine at:

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